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Jenalee Elle is a Former Student and Dental Hygiene Instructor at Carrington College, Boise!

May 4, 2022

Elisa J King, Career Services Advisor at Carrington College, nominated Jenalee Elle for a faculty spotlight. Elisa was Jenalee’s student in 2015; the two now work together. 

I nominated her because she is a phenomenal teacher,” Elisa says. “She is always positive, upbeat, and super supportive of her students and her coworkers. She’s always willing to step in and help when needed. She’s just a fantastic person all around.” 

Here, Jenalee shares more about her career in Dental Hygiene, and the job she loves—teaching. 

 

What did you do before studying Dental Hygiene? 

I went to college first, then I moved to Portland, Oregon, and worked in a dental office, which is where I realized how much I enjoyed the profession. The dentist I worked for encouraged me to attend hygiene school. Soon after, I moved to Boise and applied to the Dental Hygiene program.

After graduating in 2006, I worked in private practice as a dental hygienist for several years. I’d always wanted to teach, though. 

 

How did you find your position as an instructor at Carrington College?  

I kept in touch with Dr. Hunt, a long-time faculty at Carrington. In 2015, they had a big class, and he reached out to me with an instructor position. 

I started out working in the Dental Hygiene clinic at Carrington College, and I now teach didactic classes, Dental Hygiene IV DH289, and Senior Seminar DH298. 

 

What is your favorite thing about being a dental hygienist? 

I love working with people, making connections, and helping them; you get to see them at least twice a year. I love to help people improve their confidence through their oral health.  

 

What is your teaching job at Carrington College like? 

We were online during Covid but are finally back in person, so I’m either in lecture with one of the classes, or in clinics, which run all day. Clinic is when real patients are brought in for students to learn dental procedures. The rest of the time, the students are in lecture. 

Depending on where they are in the program, students are required to do a different amount of clinic sessions, which are three to four hours at a time. As they progress each term, they fulfill different requirements. 

 

What are your plans for furthering your career? 

I am taking courses for a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene; I already have two associate’s degrees. I feel like this is helping me to be a better instructor because as a current student myself, I notice what I appreciate and what I would like to do differently as a teacher. 

Also, the classes I am taking are online; learning online has benefitted me as both a student and a teacher, because it’s the same education platform my own students are using. I understand more about their experience.   

 

What do you like most about your job? What has been the most challenging?  

I think the people I work with are amazing; it’s a great faculty, fellow hygienists with a lot of experience. Our director, Rachel, is amazing, just awesome in her role— the great team I work with is what has kept me loving my job.   

My favorite part about my job is teaching—I absolutely love to see the students, I love seeing them grow through the program from beginning to the end, when they are about to graduate, and I love to see them have those, “lightbulb” moments.  

One of the most challenging parts of my job is when a student is struggling; it’s hard, and I feel their struggles, too. Meeting clinic requirements and juggling course work along with it can be very demanding, very challenging; I’ve been through it so I understand how it can feel. But I love the students, and love helping them, and watching them succeed.  

 

 

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